Man in court over helping dad run brothels

Published Wednesday, 11 June 2014
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A Co Antrim man has been given a suspended prison for helping his father run brothels out of luxury apartments across Northern Ireland.

Man in court over helping dad run brothels
Matthew Weir's father will be sentenced next week. (© Getty)

Matthew Weir, 28 and of Churchview, Randalstown, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court last month to one count of aiding and abetting his dad Robert Weir in the running or managing of the brothels between June, 2011 and April, 2012.

Sentencing Weir at the same court to four months in custody, deputy Belfast Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott QC said she was suspending the sentence for three years "as a marker" to ensure "there isn't any likely risk of reoffending" in the future.

Marina boss Robert Weir, 56 and of Drumsough Road, Randalstown will be sentenced next week after he pleaded guilty to one count of running or managing a brothel.

Prosecuting counsel Kate McKay told the court that Robert Weir would procure luxury apartments in Belfast and Londonderry.

The court heard a number of prostitutes would fly into Northern Ireland and Robert Weir would transport them to the brothels.

"On one occasion Matthew Weir took the prostitutes to the apartments where they were to work from," said Ms McKay.

"They would pay £100 per week in cash payments for rent to stay in the apartments controlled by Robert Weir. They would spend around a week there and then move onto another apartment.

"Matthew Weir and Robert Weir ensured they were given access to the apartments. Robert Weir would have paid for the apartments.

"Matthew Weir provided a range of other things such as toiletries and towels and also ensured the apartments were cleaned afterwards.

"Matthew Weir readily assisted his father. He would have handed over keys to the prostitutes. These were the activities he was carrying out."

The prosecutor added that according to a probation report, the 28-year-old "did not reach the threshold of significant risk of serious harm in the future."

Defence counsel Greg Berry QC said his client was remorseful for his actions and also asked for credit for his guilty plea - even though it was at a late stage - but it was to an additional count of aiding and abetting in running brothels.

"One would hope that this has been nipped in the bud," added Mr Berry QC.

Judge Corine Philpott replied: "I am going to make sure this is nipped in the bud and give him something hanging over his head."

Addressing the defendant in the dock, the deputy Belfast Recorder told Weir: "You are very fortunate that this is just an aiding and abetting charge.

"You managed these houses at a lower level. Your father run this business enterprise and you were involved at the ground level."

Judge Philpott QC added that as Weir had already spent one month on remand after he was initially charged, he would receive a four month sentence suspended for three years.

"You didn't enjoy custody last time. You won't enjoy custody as a sentenced prisoner."

The judge also ordered the destruction of two mobile phones and an imitation firearm and ammunition.

© UTV News
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